Frequently Asked Questions


General

Where is the Aquatic Center located?
Where is the Boathouse located?
Where do I learn more about the Varsity Women’s Rowing program?

Questions about Alabama Crew

Do I have to pay for hotels when we travel?
How competitive is the club?
What if I have no rowing experience at all?
If I have rowed in high school, can I row with the varsity men?
When do I become “Varsity?”
Do I have to row in the morning?
Can I still join the team as a new member after crew has already been in season for a few weeks?
Can I be on the club team as a female?
What if I have class on one of the days during practice?
Do we travel?
Do we row year-round?
Do we miss class for regattas?
Is there a weight limit?
Do we have to pay club dues?
Is there an age limit?
Who coaches the club?
I’m interested in learning to row, but I don’t want to be very competitive or dedicate much of my time to crew. Should I still come?
I feel like I’m too small to row – should I still join?
What if I can’t swim – how will I pass the swim test?
What happens if I get injured?
I haven’t participated in any sports before/for a long time. Will I be too out of shape?
I don’t know how to lift weight properly. Will there be someone to show me how?

Questions about practice/races/regattas/uniforms

What do we wear to practice/races?
How do we travel? Will a bus take us there?
Who do we race against?
What if it rains during practice?
When do we row?

Questions about rowing in general

What is a regatta?
How long is a race?
How fast do the boats go?
What does the +/- or x mean next to the numbers such as 2-, 4+, etc.?
What’s the difference between sculling and sweep rowing?
Is there rowing elsewhere in Alabama?
Where can I learn more about rowing in general?
What is a coxswain?

Answers

 

Where is the Aquatic Center located?


The Aquatic Center is located on the outskirts of campus towards the RR tracks. From campus, take Hackberry (keep Burke on your right) all the way to the Hackberry/Bryant Drive intersection. Go though the light. On the left side opposite “Stephanie’s Flowers” turn into that parking lot. There are basically two main buildings: one with pools, and the other with a weight room. The building towards the front is where we will meet. The “Hospitality Room” (walk inside, take a left) is where the club meets.


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Where is the Boathouse located?

Take Lurleen Wallace Bridge out of campus towards 82. Stay in the right lane. It will force you to come off the bridge early. Once off the bridge, stay to the right at the bottom of the hill. At the traffic light ahead, make a right (as if going to Wentzel’s seafood/Dreamland). Make a left onto 3rd street (behind Matthews Elementary). Travel up the levee and down around into the gates of Alabama Crew. Park on the left side as you turn in.

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Where do I learn more about the Varsity Women’s Rowing program?

You can either visit the website, or contact Larry Davis, Head coach of Women’s Rowing, directly.

Do I have to pay for hotels when we travel?

As a member of Alabama Crew, you are required to pay $350 per semester for club dues. This will cover all entry fees of boats/regatta fees, hotels, and travel. Meals are not covered in our club dues. You are expected to pay for your own meals on regatta trips.

How competitive is the club?

In general, we are a highly competitive group of people who strive for excellence. The bigger the club gets, the more competitive we become.

What if I have no rowing experience at all?

No problem! Very few who join the club ever have any experience. Some had never even heard of crew until word of mouth or “Get on Board Day”. We will teach you all you need to know about rowing and what it takes to be a competitive member of the club.

If I have rowed in high school, can I row with the varsity men?

It is up to the coaches discretion. If you have rowed in high school, you can still row novice for two full semesters because Junior rowing and Collegiate rowing are two completely different levels. If the varsity men are lacking numbers and are in need of extra rowers, you might be asked to drop your novice status.

When do I become “Varsity?”

The word varsity is generally referring to an organization that is fully funded by the university. Alabama Women’s Rowing is a varsity sport at UA. Alabama Crew is strictly a club. However, the club uses the term “Varsity” to mean those who have been on the team/competed for more than a year. The beginning of your third semester on the team signifies you as a “varsity” member. There are separate racing categories in races in which novice members will compete against other novice members (two semester experience or less) and varsity members compete against other varsity members.

Do I have to row in the morning?

For the first few weeks, no. After novices have learned the basics, however, all members will practice at the same time (5:00 AM for water practices, 6:00 AM for indoor practices).

Can i still join the team as a new member after crew has already been in season for a few weeks?

It’s a tough call. We definitely want you to come and see what’s going on. It might take a little extra work on your part to make up three weeks in about three days, but if you’re willing than so are we! Unfortunately, at some point there will be a cut off, but get in contact with us and at least come down for a practice to talk to us.

Can I be on the club team as a female?

Yes! We are trying to build up the women’s side of our team, though most female members become coxswains. Alternatively, if you are interested in learning more about Alabama Women’s Rowing, contact Larry Davis—Head coach of the women.

What if I have class on one of the days during afternoon practice?

During the first few weeks when novices practice in the afternoon, there will usually be more than one practice per day. When you start practicing in the morning, it shouldn’t be an issue.

Do we travel?

Absolutely! We travel all over the Southeast. We primarily travel between Tennessee and Georgia and occasionally to Louisiana.

Do we row year-round?

We row by semesters. When school is done, so is the rowing season. We do ask that members try to keep in shape over the holidays, especially over Christmas since the spring season tends to be a little bit more intense. Plus, we worked so hard to get to such a high level of fitness; we would hate to lose all that we worked for!

Do we miss class for regattas?

Yes. We do miss Friday classes. We try to leave for regattas on Friday about 10:00am. When making your schedule for the next semester, please keep that in mind. “Permission to miss class” forms are plentiful for every regatta for every professor. Most professors know about the sport and our level of competition, so they generally do not have a problem with you skipping a class. If for some reason there is a major conflict, we will find a way to work around it.

Is there a weight limit?

In extreme cases yes, but as a rule, any person of any size can row. Our boats may look small, but they can accommodate most any size person. If you feel you are on the other end of the spectrum, you might want to look into being a coxswain!

Do we have to pay club dues?

Yes. Dues are $350 per semester and cover all racing fees, regatta fees, hotels and racing uniforms. Jackets and meals are not part of the dues and must be purchased separately.

Is there an age limit?

There is no age limit to racing except to be enrolled full time as a student at the University of Alabama.

Who coaches the club?

We are privileged to have Daniella Susnara and Audrey White coaching our team for the 2013-2014 year.

I’m interested in learning to row, but I don’t want to be very competitive or dedicate much of my time to crew. Should I still come?

To be completely honest, no. Although this is a club, we row and compete at a very high level and wish to maintain that level for as long as the club is in existence. If you feel it’s something you might enjoy but just don’t have the time at the moment, wait and try it later. We never wish to turn people away, but remember—you’re part of a crew. Once you’re in a boat, everyone else will be depending on you to show up every day.

I feel like I’m too small to row – should I still join?

YES. If rowing is not what you desire, try coxing!! Coxing is for smaller, lighter, but aggressive people who have the desire to command their crew. Even if you don’t feel you have what it takes, try.

What if I can’t swim – how will I pass the swim test?

A swim test is a must before ever getting in a boat, but no worries. You are only required to swim a lap up and back and tread water for 5 minutes where you will then be asked to put on a life preserver (that is thrown to you). Once you have accomplished this, you’re free and clear for one year. You can swim the lap up and back in any style you wish and take as long as you need. If you cannot swim, we will teach you! It has been done before; it’s nothing new and nothing to be ashamed of.

What happens if I get injured?

The an athletic trainer at the Rec is available to help with serious injuries. No boat will ever leave the dock without a coach, and every coach carries a medical kit. Every member of the club will sign waivers and fill forms with medical information with the university if anything should happen while at a regatta.

I haven’t participated in any sports before/for a long time. Will I be too out of shape?

Not at all. There is an extreme range of athletic ability. All we ask is that you come ready and willing to learn and give it your best!

I don’t know how to lift weight properly. Will there be someone to show me how?

Yes. The varsity members along with the coaches will be there to aid you in the proper techniques of lifting.

What do we wear to practice/races?

Wear shorts and a t-shirt along with running shoes to practice. Please do not wear shorts that drop below the knees because they will get stuck while rowing. Also, if the weather is cold, LAYER. Do not wear jackets that are too puffy or anything that will prevent you from moving your arms or get stuck as your row. During races, you will wear a uni-suit that is fitted to you and provided to you with your club dues. Novices will not receive a uni-suit until their second semester or later. They will be given matching racing shirts instead. Scary as it may sound, spandex is the best thing for rowing. It is the most comfortable to row in and there is no possible way to go wrong with spandex. Our uni-suits are made of spandex and look much like a wrestling singlet

How do we travel? Will a bus take us there?

Most of the time we travel by university 12 passenger vans. Some extra travel will be done by personal vehicles if conditions require us too.Gas will be reimbursed.

Who do we race against?

Some of the big ones are Auburn, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia State, Tennessee, UTC, Tulane, Texas, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Clemson, College of Charleston, UCF, Rollins, Murray State, Cincinnati, Dayton, Oklahoma, Baylor, Sewanee, Willam&Mary, Stetson, SCAD, Duke, UNC, Northwestern, Rhodes, etc. There are many many more in the bigger races, but these are a few of the names you will recognize.

What if it rains during practice?

If it rains, we still row! Rowing in the rain is fun at times, actually, except when it’s cold. Butregardless, we still row in the rain. If there is thunder/lightning/high winds, we do not row.

When do we row?

During the fall, varsity members row in the morning between the hours of 5:15am and 7:00am. For the first few weeks, novices will practice in the afternoons and will then transition to morning practices. In the spring, all members practice in the morning.

What is a regatta?

Simply put, a regatta is a boat race. The word is derived from the 17th century Venetian dialect meaning fight or contest. Regattas are divided into two categories: head races which are about 5000 meters held during the fall season, and sprint races—2000 meters held in the spring season. See More About Rowing.

How long is a race?

In the fall, we race what’s called a head race. Generally a head race is about 5000 meters (about 20 minutes). In the spring, we race sprint races that are generally 2000 meters long (about 7.5 minutes).
How fast do the boats go?
There is a wide range in speed for boats. Obviously the more people in one boat, the faster it will go. A 8+ can range anywhere from 8mph to 15mph depending on size, and experience of the crew.

What does the +/- or x mean next to the numbers such as 4-, 4+, or 4x ?

A “+” symbol next to a number means that boat is coxed and the “-” means coxless. The “x” means a sculling boat.

What’s the difference between sculling and sweep rowing?

Sculling is done with two oars per person; sweep rowing only uses one oar per person.

Is there rowing elsewhere in Alabama?

There are a few other Universities that have a club teams: Auburn, UAH, and Samford. Huntsville has a Juniors/Masters program (Rocket City Rowing) and Birmingham has a recreational club for scullers.

Where can I learn more about rowing in general?

There’s tons of material on the web about rowing. Two of the best websites to check out is US Rowing and Row2k.

What is a coxswain?

The Coxswain (cox for short) is the motivator of the crew, and the person who commands and steers